PAKISTAN: One journalist killed and another missing after arrest

June 17, 2007, was bad day for journalists in Pakistan as one was shot dead and another was arrested by the law enforcement agencies and has been missing since then. His whereabouts are not known and his parents fear that he has been killed by the military.

According to the reports received, Mr. Abdul Lateef Gola, a correspondent of Daily Jang in Jafferabad city, Balochistan province was arrested on June 17, 2007 by the police officers at around 1:00am from his house. The police officers told his family members that Major Ali, of army core head quarter of Quetta, the capital of the province, wanted him for some questioning about his reports on military activities in province. As mentioned earlier his whereabouts are unknown and the police are denying his arrest.

In another case, Mr. Noor Ahmed Solangi, a correspondent of the daily, Khabroon, in Kingree, Sindh province was shot dead by six men riding on motorcycles. He was struck by nine bullets from an AK-47 and died instantly. It was reported in the local press that deceased had received threats from the tribal leaders of the Junejo tribe two days before his killing. The leaders of Junejo tribe are members of the Muslim League Q, a political party of government of General Musharraf.

The Asian Human Rights Commission condemns the killing of the journalist, allegedly by members of ruling party and the disappearance of a journalist after arrest by the police. The AHRC has for some time now pointed out that the deteriorating working conditions of journalists in the interior areas of the country are putting them in very dangerous situations. Journalists are now facing direct threats to their life. Mr. Solangi is the third journalist within a period of a year to be killed, allegedly by the tribal chiefs and the powerful people of Sindh province.

The AHRC is also concerned about the disappearances of political activists and journalists at the hands of military personnel. The Pakistan Army has made Balochistan province a no-go area for journalists and activists. On June 15, 2007, Mr. Nisar Khokhar, a correspondent of the BBC was prevented by military officials from entering the province by the same military officer, Major Ali, who had ordered the police to bring journalist Gola into the military camp office of Quetta.

The AHRC urges the government of General Musharraf to recover the missing journalist Mr. Abdul Lateef Gola, immediately, constitute an inquiry into the arrests and take action against those officers who are responsible for making journalists incommunicado. The AHRC also urges to government to cause an investigation into the murder of the journalist, Mr. Noor Ahmed Solangi, arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Furthermore, compensation must be paid to the family of deceased journalists.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AS-128-2007
Countries : Pakistan,